So this, we realise, is how the islanders found partners in years gone by; the annual knees up. Every year, a week long event - one on East Falkland (Goose Green this year), one on the West (Hill Cove), after sheep shearing has pretty much finished; an opportunity to meet, drink, chat, drink, compete at various skills/games..and drink. Hoorah!
Firstly we attended day one (keep safe) on the East. This is horse racing at Goose Green. Plenty of horses, and they looked good to me . My ability to tell one horse from another is based on its height, tack, and how pretty it is. Alarming then, that we were asked to judge 'best turned out horse'. We tried.
A good day of racing, but the betting was not as serious as Boxing Day at Stanley, and we did not replicate our Christmas wins. Frank was unimpressed.
Secondly, over to the West (Frank and I drove, Bill flew in (busy apparently....mm). We joined day one - sheep shearing, and as HMS Clyde was moored off Hill Cove, the boys and girls came ashore and joined in. A fair amount of gore it has to be said, but Joe was a natural, and won the novices - pride for Clyde!
Day two was more quirky; peat cutting, followed by bike agility, truck pulling, and darts. All key Falkland skills.
Did you know that peat cutting is to a depth of around 1.5m? Hard work and very competitive. Even the ship's chaplain joined in today. Very muddy and slippy. Frank had a good go at bike agility (borrowed bike, up against men who have ridden over these moors all their lives. He did us proud). Truck pulling was fabulous; the girls team sseemed to involve men pushing the truck from behind, the stronger men's teams involved a lot of secret pulling... Two teams from Clyde, but there was one team of farmers who were clearly not going to be beaten. We went off to Clyde for dinner (wearing candid camera immersion suits in the zodiac boats - thank you; not a fashion statement I wish to repeat) and found the crew practising hard for the evening's darts. They won 2nd and 3rd.
We stayed over on Clyde and escaped the next day, leaving the crew to do their best at the dog trials...